Get ready to be ravenous after this one! It’s been a while since I’ve done a food review and so I hope this hits you by lunchtime. I can’t wait to tell you about our lunch at 805 Restaurants in Reading, Berkshire!
805 is a Nigerian Restaurant with branches in Wuse 2, Abuja, London, Reading and Accra. It’s a wonder I never had lunch at the Aminu Kanu branch, but @akinolatoluwanimi and NJ got their way and took me out to lunch in the Reading branch for my birthday.
Here, instead of boring you, I’ll let these images speak for themselves. (P:S henceforth, I’ll be using watermarks on my images more frequently because they are getting stolen more often).
What We Like
Easy to Find: I didn’t even know we were already there. This restaurant was only one bus away from campus and one bus back to the train station. Super convenient.
Ambience: The clean earth-toned interior was very modern and the wood theme gave a natural rustic feel to the sitting area. To top it off, Nigerian music (I have forgotten which or by whom) was playing softly in the background, evoking nostalgia and a real sense of being back at home.
Rich Menu: There was everything I could think of, so much it took us a while to place our order. Just see for yourself. I wanted a taste of everything.
Great Service: The waiter was friendly, prompt and super patient with taking our order. She was also very helpful, packing up our left-overs among other things. To be fair, that may have been because we were the only customers in at the time. Regardless, the service left us quite satisfied.
Delicious Taste: Believe me when I say, the food tasted as good as it looked. As you can see, I’m talking finger-licking good. I was hesitant ordering Banga soup off the menu knowing it requires some fresh Nigerian ingredients. But I was not disappointed. I don’t know how the restaurant gets the red palm fruit but the soup and spices were authentic. I even sent compliments to the Chef.
Brilliant Presentation: In my opinion, the first taste of food begins with your eyes. I was blown away by the presentation of every dish. The stacks of Eba/Garri or pounded yam, with fish swimming in soup, the grilled fish and plantain spread on the flat black stoneware. For an impromptu lunch, I’ve never been more grateful to have come along with my camera.
Charging socket: This may not matter if you have great battery life but it is fair to state that any establishment that cares for your well-being will provide you with outlets to charge your device. It’s not USB-charging though, just a regular socket but I love that it was available and working.
Clean Toilet: In my opinion, the toilet is where the final judgement of a place should be made. It just tells you a lot about the hygiene standards of an establishment and how they really feel about their customers. Y’all, 805 has got that baby-diaper changing board and scented candles in here. They care. However, It was just one stall so it had me wondering, what would happen on a busy night?
Home Delivery: Yeah, you can enjoy authentic Nigerian cuisine in the comfort of your home, even though you are miles away. I believe this service is only available in areas where there are branches in proximity.
What Could Be Better
No Free wifi: This really did put me off, especially because it is a standard here. Just walking by the restaurant alone, the wifi should be available, not that we didn’t have internet access on our phones or anything. To be fair, this probably forced us to spend a bit more time actually talking to each other. My recommendation: Get Wi-Fi even if it is slow.
Poor product knowledge: I feel like, if you are selling a product, your salesperson should know exactly what it is and be able to make useful recommendations to customers. I loved our waiter but it was quite obvious that she had no idea what she was selling, and admitted she doesn’t eat Nigerian food. My recommendation: Hire staff who enjoy Nigerian food or get your staff to try your products.
Skewers: The taste was good, not exactly the taste of pepper/Yaji I was expecting but close enough. It really doesn’t matter that the suya came in thin shreds, however, this made it a tad bit difficult to pick the meat with the fancy toothpicks provided. I’d have preferred it if the meat was served on the skewer, proper Nigerian street style.
Finally, I didn’t smell the food cooking or nothing so it got me wondering where my food came from. Like Metro Cafe, I just like to be able to get a sense of where and how my food is being made but that’s just my personal preference.
How Much it Cost
Flat out, this meal for three costs £64 and going by today’s exchange rates, that’s approximately N28,802.33. It’s not cheap. However, compared to restaurants I’ve reviewed in Abuja and Lagos and keeping in mind that the ingredients used here are probably imported or “paid visa fees”, I think these prices are fair.
Go there. It’s perfect for a group or family lunch even though I did not notice a kid’s menu. It’s also great for a date night. I’ll certainly be visiting the London branch with my family on the next occasion. If you are Nigerian craving a taste of home in the United Kingdom, 805 Restaurant is where you want to go.
Have you dined at an 805 Restaurant? Did you enjoy the food? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!
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